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Chuukese
Spoken in Federated States of Micronesia
Region Chuuk
Total speakers 45,000
Language family Austronesian
Official status
Official language in Federated States of Micronesia
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 chk
ISO 639-3 chk

Chuukese (also called Trukese) is a Trukic language of the Austronesian language family spoken primarily on the islands of Chuuk in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. There are some speakers on Pohnpei and Guam as well. Estimates place the number of speakers at about 45,000 including second-language speakers.

The language of Chuuk belongs to the enormous Malayo-Polynesian family, one of the major branches of the Austronesian language phylum. The other major branches, known collectively as the Formosan languages, are only found on Taiwan, whereas the Malayo-Polynesian branches consist of languages that are distributed all through the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Madagascar.

Chuukese falls within the Nuclear Micronesian subdivision of the Oceanic division of the Austronesian language phylum. This subdivision consists of Kiribati, Marshallese, Kosraean, Nauruan, and the Ponapeic-Trukic language groups. The Ponapeic group consists of dialects spoken on Pohnpei, Mwoakiloa, Pingelap, and Sapwuahfik. Languages in the Trukic group are closely related and extend over most of the Caroline Islands, from the Mortlock Islands southeast of Chuuk to the atolls in the vicinity of Yap and Palau in the west. Languages (or dialects) in this group are Mortlockese, Chuukese, Puluwatese, Saipan Carolinian, Satawalese, Woleaian, Ulithian, Sonsorolese, and the now-extinct language spoken until late in the last century in the little atoll of Mapia.

Chuukese has the unusual feature of permitting word-initial geminate (double) consonants. The common ancestor of Western Micronesian languages is believed to have had this feature, but most of its modern descendants have lost it.[1]

References

  1. ^ "Reflexes of initial gemination in Western Micronesian languages" (PDF). PDF file. http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/AFLA12/abstracts/AFLA_0430_B_1200.pdf. Retrieved 8 September 2005.  

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